TRIO's History

The TRIO programs were the first national college access and retention programs to address the serious social and cultural barriers to education in America.

The initiative began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, which later became Student Support Services, was launched in 1968. Together, this "trio" of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students.

By 1998, the Federal TRIO programs had become a vital pipeline to opportunity, serving traditional students, displaced workers, and veterans. The original three programs had grown to eight, adding Educational Opportunity Centers in 1972, Training Program for Federal TRIO programs in 1976, the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program in 1986, Upward Bound Math-Science in 1990, and the TRIO Dissemination Partnership in 1998.

50+ Years of TRIO

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Economic Opportunity Act of 1964".

Eighty-eighth Congress of the United States of America, City of Washington - Tuesday, 7 January 1964

Although the economic well-being and prosperity of the United States have progressed to a level surpassing any achieved in world history, and although these benefits are widely shared throughout the Nation, poverty continues to be the lot of a substantial number of our people. The United States can achieve its full economic and social potential as a nation only if every individual has the opportunity to contribute to the full extent of his/her capabilities and to participate in the workings of our society. It is, therefore, the policy of the United States to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this Nation by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity. It is the purpose of this Act to strengthen, supplement, and coordinate efforts in furtherance of that policy.

The act as signed into law is available with the US archives. You may read President Lyndon B. Johnson's remarks upon signing the act at The American Presidency Project.

Upward Bound

1964 - 2014

Upward Bound helps low-income high school students go from poverty to the middle class through higher education.

The origins of Upward Bound can be traced back to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

The experimental program was established as the country’s first federal program to prepare low-income students for college with the goal of helping high school students go from poverty to the middle class through higher education.

In 1965, 17 Regular Upward Bound programs enrolled 2,061 participants. Since 1964 more than 2 million students have participated in Regular Upward Bound. Today, 964 programs are funded with more than 80,000 students participating. In the summer of 2014, this well-established program celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Educational Talent Search

1965 - 2015

Talent Search helps low-income, first-generation students college-ready by providing resources as early as middle school.

The inception of Talent Search was a continuation of President Johnson's War on Poverty.

It came into effect with the enactment of the Higher Education Act of 1965, established with the goal of seeing that “no American talent is wasted”. Talent Search is a national college access program that gives low-income, first-generation students and their families information about college admissions and resources as early as middle school and helps students to become college-ready.

In 1967, 45 pilot programs were funded and 50,000 students participated. Since 1965, more than 11 million students have participated in Talent Search. Currently, 450 projects serve about 311,000 students. This summer, marks the 50th anniversary of the program, as it guides students and their families through the college preparation and application process.